Believe it or not, your anger will turn into gratitude.
It might not be tomorrow, or next week. It might not be a month, a year, or even a few years, but in time, you will look back upon the ex you once reviled and the breakup that almost killed you, and say thanks.
I had a boyfriend I was madly in love with many years ago. We had passion, chemistry, similar interests, backgrounds, and potential. The only problem was, I was in my early 40s with a ticking biological clock and a palpable desperation to get married and pregnant, and he didn’t.
He was newly divorced, conflicted on every level, and not really emotionally available, although he made a good show of it. He gave me what I needed at the time: HOPE. He also gave me enough encouragement to feel like we were viable (actually it was more mixed signals than encouragement). Whatever we had, I took because I wanted a relationship that bad.
Dating him was a labor of love. I had to contend with his ex-wife, his young kid, and ugly divorce. Didn’t matter, I was devoted. I tolerated his reticence, took on his baggage, and kept hope alive.
I gave him my heart and soul, and then he crushed both when I found out he was cheating on me.
To be honest, he technically didn’t “dump” me; he didn’t “officially” break up with me. Rather, he let his actions do the dirty work. That he didn’t fight for me was the actual dumping.
To say I was destroyed was an understatement. The betrayal and pain were visceral. I felt taken advantage of, and my good efforts felt rejected. I took to my bed and cried for days. I couldn’t eat, sleep, or function. Eventually my pain turned to seething anger, which felt like progress at least.
Suddenly, I hated the guy I was in love with.
One wise friend said to me, “You know, Treva, one day you’ll thank him.” And I said, “Fuck off, no way.” I swore to myself I’d despise him forever, and I did for a while. That is, until I didn’t.
I don’t remember when I turned the corner, but somewhere in between therapy, support from friends, self-care, wine, weed, and time, I healed. Only after I pieced my heart back together and was on the other side of rage, did the lesson become clear:
I would never ignore my needs, betray my better judgment, or dishonor my highest good again. I would never grovel, compromise my dignity, or sell my soul for a relationship. Most of all, I refused to be desperate.
These epiphanies not only changed my life, they forever changed the way I love, and let myself be loved. Most of all, they changed the way I love MYSELF.
None of this could’ve happened without the ex.
I never thought I’d say this, but my wise friend was right. I owe my ex a debt of gratitude. Because of him, I grew into a much better version of myself. All that pain paid off, and it will for you too, if you ever get dumped. When you see how much you’ve grown, you’ll realize the struggle was worth it.
You may hate your ex initially, but eventually you’ll be grateful for the gifts he/she gives you.
You will thank your ex for giving you clarity.
You’ll see more clearly and have better insight into who you are and what you want. You’ll identify danger signs and red flags faster, and take quicker action when your needs aren’t getting met.
You will thank your ex for giving you motivation.
You’ll raise your standards, get in better shape, tie up loose ends, heal old wounds, stop repeating patterns, break bad habits, and resolve old issues. Your ex will give you newfound motivation to fix everything.
You will thank your ex for making you stronger and more resilient.
Your confidence will improve, so will your worth and value to yourself. You’ll find the power to speak up, the courage to demand better, and the self-respect not to take anyone’s shit. You will find resolve you never knew you had.
You will thank your ex for setting you free.
Instead of wasting time constantly worrying about your relationship, your energy will be freed up to do more important things, like meet someone great who truly wants you, appreciates you, and gives you the love you deserve.
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Like I said, none of these things will happen quickly, but the first day you’ve gone without crying, seething, or hating your ex, or the first day you’re more hopeful than angry, you’ll know your grudge is turning into gratitude, and you’re on your way to saying thanks….and forgiving them too.